If you’re one of the many people who have recently undergone meniscus surgery, you’re likely eager to get back to your everyday routine. However, it’s important to take things slow in the early stages post-surgery, and allow your knee time to heal. One thing that may be on your mind is how to sleep comfortably after surgery. Here are five tips that can help make sleeping easier.

What to Expect After Meniscus Surgery

Most people who have meniscus surgery will stay in the hospital for one night. You can expect some pain and swelling around the knee, which is normal. Your doctor will likely order prescription pain medicine to help you manage any discomfort. It’s important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Try to avoid putting any weight on your leg until your doctor gives you the okay.

how to sleep after meniscus surgery and avoid blood clots
Credit: BoneJoint

The menisci are small, horseshoe-shaped, rubbery cartilage. They act as shock-absorbing pads inside the knee. During recovery, it is best to remove as much stress and load from the knee as possible. To help facilitate an efficient healing process, we recommend several sleeping variations below that assist in keeping the knee elevated during rest.

How Meniscus Surgery Can Affect Sleep

While you’re recovering from meniscus surgery, it’s common to have trouble sleeping. The pain and discomfort around your injured knee can make it difficult to find a comfortable position. It may also be hard to fall asleep due to anxiety or worry about the surgery.

Restorative sleep is imperative for post-surgery recovery. Studies have shown that poor post-op sleep quality is significantly linked to delayed recovery and pain sensitivity. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help make sleeping easier.

What is the Best Sleeping Position After Meniscus Surgery?

how to sleep after meniscus surgery and get proper blood flow

1. Sleep on your back with your leg elevated

keeping legs elevated to reduce swelling after meniscus repair surgery

The best sleeping position after meniscus surgery is on your back with a pillow under your operated leg. This will help to keep the pressure off of your knee, and reduce pain and swelling with healthy blood circulation. If you’re having trouble staying in this position, try propping yourself up with pillows or using a body pillow for support. If you’re looking for more than just standard bedroom pillows, we recommend checking out a leg elevation pillow or single leg elevation pillow for enhanced relief during rest.

2. Sleep on your non-surgery side

knee arthroscopy
Credit: Casper

If sleeping on your back is too uncomfortable, try resting on the side of your “good” side with a pillow in between your knees. This will help to take the pressure off your operated knee and prevent it from moving too much in the middle of the night. Instead of using regular pillows, you can look into a contoured leg pillow for side sleepers.

3. Sleep in a zero-gravity reclining chair

knee heals from torn meniscus tears

If you’re struggling to sleep in a bed, try sleeping in a zero-gravity reclining chair. Believe it or not, this has become a fairly popular option for those looking to spend time in the living room. This position takes the pressure off of your back, spine, and knee, and can be helpful if you’re experiencing pain.

4. Use pillows for support

No matter what position you sleep in, be sure to use pillows for support. Pillows are the perfect helper to minimizing knee pain and assisting with sleep after meniscus surgery. Place them under your head, neck, back, and operated leg to help you get comfortable.

5. Try a sleep aid (ask doctor)

Try the above sleeping positions for a week or two after surgery. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about other options. They may be able to prescribe medication to help you sleep better or suggest other ways to manage your pain during the recovery process.


arthroscopic surgery on knee joint

How long after meniscus surgery can I walk?

Most people can walk soon after surgery, but you may have to wear a knee brace. You likely won’t be able to put much weight on your leg for the first few weeks.

Can I sleep on my side after arthroscopic knee surgery?

Yes, you can sleep on your side after arthroscopic knee surgery, but we recommend sleeping on the non-surgery side. Use a pillow in between your knees for support.

Is it better to sleep on your back or stomach after knee surgery?

We recommend sleeping on your back with a pillow under the operated leg. This will help to keep the pressure off of your knee and reduce pain and swelling. However, if this is too uncomfortable, you can try sleeping on your non-surgery side with a pillow in between your knees.

How long will I need crutches after meniscus surgery?

You may need crutches for up to six weeks after meniscus surgery. It’s important not to put any weight on your leg until your doctor gives you the okay.

How long does the knee stay swollen after meniscus surgery?

Most people experience swelling for the first few weeks after surgery. However, it can take up to six months for the swelling to completely go down.

Can you bend your knee after meniscus surgery?

Bending your knee can agitate the meniscus, so your surgeon will likely keep the knee restricted. The bending of your knee typically depends on the type of meniscus tear you had. On average, you can start bending the knee in a limited fashion after the first week. Always check with your surgeon for your particular case.

How long after meniscus surgery can I drive?

You can usually drive when you’re no longer taking pain medication and you can safely move your leg from the gas pedal to the brake. For most people, this is around two weeks after surgery.

What is the fastest way to recover from meniscus surgery?

The fastest way to recover from meniscus surgery is to follow your surgeon’s instructions and focus on physical therapy. Most people take six weeks to fully recover.

There are a few things you can do to improve sleep quality after torn meniscus surgery. First, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening as it can affect your REM sleep and ability to fall asleep. It’s also important to establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible during your recovery period. Try to avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed as bright screens can interfere with a good night’s sleep.


arthroscopic surgery and knee arthroscopy on knee joint

Sleeping after meniscus repair surgery can be difficult due to pain, swelling, and discomfort. The main objective during recovery is to optimize blood flow to the knee while reducing load and stress to the meniscus tear. By following these tips you can find the best sleeping position possible and speed up your recovery process!

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